Lens-Artists #119: Hideaway

For this challenge Ann-Christine has asked us “where or what is our hideaway”. Her description of hideaway says “A Hideaway, is a place to which a person can retreat for safety, privacy, relaxation, to seek seclusion or refuge.”

When I am at home I can hideaway for a few moments by getting out in nature or by reading a book. But for me, a true hideaway is a wilderness area far away from civilization, somewhere with no robo calls, internet, or other interruptions.

Three of my favorite destinations immediately came to mind – the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia, Denali National Park in Alaska, and Everglades National Park in Florida. Although these are three unique protected wilderness areas, what they have in common is that they are miles away from civilization and the wildlife is free to roam.

Okefenokee Landscape
Okefenokee Landscape

Of these three areas, the closest to my home is the Okefenokee Swamp. When we get to the end of the 17 mile road from the main highway and arrive at Stephen C. Foster State Park I feel like I am in another world. This image and the one at the top were both taken in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Fargo, Georgia.

Mount Denali in Denali National Park, Alaska

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.

John Muir
Sunrise in Everglades National Park in Flamingo, Florida

There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #119: Hideaway.

Lens-Artists #115: Inspiration

I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.

Ansel Adams

Whether it’s a butterfly in my garden, a tiny spider on a colorful flower, a walk on the beach, visiting a National Park, or seeing a sunset, I find inspiration in the natural world.

Green Lynx Spider on pink zinnia
Tybee Island North Beach at low tide
Yosemite Valley in Yellowstone National Park
Sunset over the Georgia Salt Marsh

Thanks to Tina for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #115: Inspiration.

Lens-Artists #108: Sanctuary

This week, our guest host Xenia of Tranature has chosen Sanctuary for our challenge. She reminds us that “Sanctuary can be found and created in a garden, a park, a field of wild flowers and by the sea …… watching wildlife, listening to birdsong …… along the forest trails and in the mountains.” She has asked us to show where we find it or how we create our calm and healing.

America’s National Parks and Wildlife Refuges are national treasures and wonderful places to find sanctuary.

Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park
Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park
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Cypress Trees in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska

Closer to home, I can find my sanctuary watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean on one of Georgia’s barrier islands (image at the top of the page), walking on the beach, or watching the birds and butterflies in my backyard butterfly garden.

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Waiting for Tropical Storm Isaias

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Xenia, thank you for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Sanctuary

Throwback Thursday #16 – January 16, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 3 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

On this day eight years ago, January 16, 2012, we were camped in Everglades National Park in Flamingo, Florida. This was the southern most location of our 2012 snowbird journey.

One of our favorite drives in Florida is Highway 41, a National Scenic Byway which goes  from east and west through the Everglades. We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in the Big Cypress National Preserve for a look at the alligators before continuing on to the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park.

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We stopped at the Oasis visitor center on Highway 41 to check out the alligators

Our first time camping was three years earlier (more about that stay at Throwback Thursday #13 – December 5, 2009). The big difference between our 2009 visit and this visit was they had added electricity to some of the sites. There were only a few electric sites and they were available on a first come basis so we made sure to get there early enough to score the last one! Woo hoo!

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Hawk hanging around the campground in Flamingo

The sunrise was spectacular over Florida Bay.

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Sunrise in Flamingo, Everglades National Park, Florida

The birding was also spectacular.

Flamingo is remote, natural, and wild. My kind of place.

 

Throwback Thursday #13 – December 5, 2009

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.

On this day ten years ago, December 5, 2009, we were camped in the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park. We spent the day exploring the national park around Flamingo.

After entering Everglades National Park, the drive to the Flamingo Campground is another 38 miles through the park. Flamingo is the southernmost place in the mainland of the U.S. (The southernmost point in the U.S. is farther south in Key West.)

I wandered from our campsite in the morning to nearby Eco Pond where many wading birds were gathered.

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Egrets and Spoonbill at Eco Pond

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Wood Stork

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Roseate Spoonbill

Later in the day we went for a boat ride on a big pontoon boat in Florida Bay. There were some White Pelicans on a sandbar close to the boat. There were also hundreds of White Pelicans on a sand bar too far away to take pictures. As we headed back to the dock the rain started coming down.

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White Pelicans in Florida Bay

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Florida Bay on a rainy day

The Flamingo area of Everglades National Park is far from civilization and a wonderful place for bird watching and seeing other wildlife. In addition to the birds visitors can observe alligators and crocodiles in the wild. During certain times of year there may even be manatees in the water.

We enjoyed our stay so much we returned in 2012.